Relentless toll as July campaigns unfolded

Tancrez Farm cemetery, Belgium, where Henri Nagel is buried.
Tancrez Farm cemetery, Belgium, where Henri Nagel is buried.

The Tynemouth Roll of Honour includes a special list of men and boys who had been pupils on the training ship Wellesley.

It was a reformatory institution housed in a naval hulk moored off the North Shields Fish Quay.

One casualty was a former pupil of the Wellesley.

Henri Nagel shows the sad story of many who found their lives in turmoil at a very early age and whose short existence was one of hardship and deprivation.

Henri was the son of a Dutch sea-going engineer who married on Tyneside in the 1880s and died at the early age of 42 in 1895, leaving his widow Elizabeth with six children to support.

Born in 1892, by November 1900 Henri had been sent to Greens School South Shields for children in need of care, having been found destitute, on the application Newcastle education committee.

In 1904 he was transferred to the Wellesley and in 1908 discharged back into the care of Newcastle education committee.

A mere formality as being 15-years-old he would have been beyond the statutory care responsibilities of the city council.

Eight years later he would die on the battlefields of Flanders. He was laid to rest in Tancrez Farm cemetery in Belgium.

The total losses for the town in July 1916 were 145.

John Laurence O’Neill, of the Durham Light Infantry, who died of wounds on July 12, was admitted to hospital with a fractured thigh but succumbed to his injuries the same day.

A nursing sister on the ward wrote to his parents telling of his end and the actions of the local population responding to the mounting toll of death.

Tickets for the next talk at the Low Lights Tavern at Brewhouse Bank, Fish Quay – ‘Cruelty and Compassion’ a review of the literature of the Great War, at 7.30pm on Tuesday, July 30, can be obtained from the Low Lights Tavern, Keel Row book shop and the project workroom.

Anyone with information on this week’s casualties or anyone killed or died as a result of the war is asked to contact the project.

The workroom at Room B9 Linskill Community Centre, Trevor Terrace, North Shields, is open from 10am to 4pm each weekday for visitors and for anyone interested to learn more about the project or how to get involved.

This week’s list gives details of men from the former Tynemouth Borough who were killed or died in

July 1916.

Fell. George Anthony, age 19, Private, 12th Battalion NF, died gunshot wound, traumatic amputation of left leg, No. 10 General Hospital, Rouen, 21st, son of George and Martha, 60 Queen Street.

Henderson, William Henry, age 18, Private, 19th Battalion DLI, KIA, 19th, 66 Coburg Street, son of Henry Bewick and Mary Henderson (nee Walker), St Augustin’s Memorial and Thiepval Memorial.

Nagel, Henri George, age 24, Private, 20th Battalion DLI, KIA, 27th, Wellesley Boy, son of Dirk Wilhelm Nagel, of Amsterdam, and Elizabeth (nee Jones), buried, Tancrez Farm cemetery, Hainault, Belgium. See story.

O’Neill, John Laurence, age 22, Private, 9th Battalion NF, DOW, 12th, 29 Camden Lane, son of John

Laurence and Mary O’Neill, buried Mericourt L’Abbe Cemetery.


KIA – killed in action; DOW – died of wounds; LAS – lost at sea; NF – Northumberland Fusiliers; DLI – Durham Light Infantry; RND – Royal Naval Division; RNR – Royal Naval Reserve; RFA – Royal Field Artillery

Anyone with information on this week’s list or who wants to find out more about the project, should visit www.tynemouth, e-mail contact@tynemouth or write to Tynemouth World War 1 Commemoration Project, c/o Essell, 29 Howard Street, North Shields, NE30 1AR.